Ed Sheeran sings of love, loss and f*ck boys on new album

He’s a classic boy-next-door, a hopeless romantic who’s just a little angsty.

After disappearing from social media, and basically the face of the planet, Ed Sheeran has officially returned with his third album,÷ (Divide). Sheeran debuted four of the album’s tracks prior to its release. “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You” both came out on January 7th, and quickly soared in popularity.

The full album has followed in similar footsteps, receiving generally positive reviews from critics and fans, alike. While Sheeran has been a consistent chart-topper since his quick rise to fame with “The A-Team” in 2011, that isn’t to say that his style has stayed the same. In a changing music industry with artists who are constantly updating their sound, Sheeran has no shortage of competition. So, how does he keep his spot among the best?

He has managed to stay at the top because he’s proven himself to be the kind of guy you’d casually run into at a party or the quiet neighbor who lives upstairs. He’s a classic boy-next-door, a hopeless romantic who’s just a little angsty; he taps into that bittersweet romantic side with songs like “Dive” and “Happier”. There’s something refreshing and relatable about his lyrics. Sheeran reminds us that celebrities are certainly not immune to heartbreak.

However, he’s quick to remind us that he is happily in love. For those of you who don’t follow Sheeran’s love life as I do, he’s been seeing his former high school friend, Cherry Seaborn, since September 2015. Perhaps it was the nostalgia that came with reconnecting with her that inspired his hit “Castle on the Hill”, and she certainly inspired other tracks on the album. “Perfect”, “How Would You Feel” and “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” are all hopeful, emotional ballads that sing of not only love, but of lasting and inspirational love. Sheeran certainly seems to be committed to Seaborn, and is not afraid to flaunt their relationship in public (they are kissing under the banner that reads “Happy 1st Ed-iver-Cherry” in the photo below).

"Love actually is all around." Congratulations guys ❤️ @abigail_lauren @teddysphotos

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However, Sheeran’s current relationship was not the only inspiration for his album. Pulling from past experiences that were not as lucky, he gives his fans “New Man” and “Happier”. The songs act as two sides of the same coin, the first of which calls out an ex’s new beau who “goes to the gym at least six times a week, wears boat shoes with no socks on his feet”. Sheeran’s honesty on his tracks helps to bring fans into his life and solidify his everyday-guy aesthetic. In “New Man”, he reaches peak relatability when he sings, “But still, I’m just keeping it real, still looking at your Instagram and I’ll be creeping a little. I’ll be trying not to double tap, from way back, cause I know that’s where the trouble’s at.”

He doesn’t pull only from his romantic endeavors, though. “Supermarket Flowers” and bonus track, “Nancy Mulligan”, touch on family ties, with the first bringing out some of Sheeran’s most emotional and intense lyrics yet. Try to make it through without a box (or two) of tissues. On a happier note, some of the most upbeat and dance-alone-in-your-room songs come from the places Sheeran explored during his hiatus. “Barcelona” and “Galway Girl” have a different sound than most of his music, reflecting the wild and exhilarating feel of traveling. The latter song has certainly become a quick hometown favorite for Sheeran’s Irish fans

Overall, the album weaves together the heavy topics of grief and lost love with the promise of new romance and adventure. Sheeran proves himself again as a relatable musician, someone we can all identify with who made it to the big leagues.

You can purchase his album via iTunes or stream it on Spotify.



University of Delaware